February 27, 2008. LAFAYETTE, LA.
Yesterday a great soul wished good-byes to the world. Robert Trahan passed away. I regret that the Team and I did not get the opportunity give him my last respects. I read about his funeral in today’s newspaper.
I just so much wished we had the opportunity to drive CajunBot-II in his procession. You see Robert made CajunBot-II possible. He contributed the bright Red Jeep Wrangler Rubicon. His love for the University ran very deep, and CajunBot-II will forever be a symbol of that love.
Robert really loved Team CajunBot. I felt his passion first hand when I visited him to convey my thanks for the Jeep. His love for the team, as also with any aspect of the university, was unconditional. He was just proud that we were willing to compete with the best in the world. It did not matter much to him whether we did not win the challenge. Notice I did not say ‘fail’. Its because our attempt was success enough for him. In his eyes we would have failed if we did not try. But that we did our best meant that we just did not win.
Its also probably a good time for me to share why I have insisted on using the name CajunBot-II, while the team prefers Ragin’Bot. It goes all the way to the license plate CAJNBOT. This license plate, also a gift from Robert, was ordered when he delivered the vehicle to the university. I learned about the license plate almost a year later. In the interim we had named the vehicle Ragin’Bot. I do not think Robert was fascinated of that name. I think he was a Cajun through and through, and prefered CajunBot. Not that he said so to me, but he didn’t show much enthusiasm to the suggestion of creating another license plate RAGNBOT. That Robert (and I believe also his good friend President Authement) preferred the name CajunBot was at the back of my mind as I filled the entry “Vehicle Name” in the DAPRA Entry Forms for the Urban Challenge.
Although Robert has physically passed away, he has left so much impact on the university that he will forever be a part of the university.
– Arun Lakhotia